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'Einstein's Challenge' engages students in hands-on, practical problem-solving competition

CHILLICOTHE, Ohio (March 30, 2007) -- Approximately 230 third- through eighth-grade students representing 10 school districts in 4 Ohio counties will put their math and science skills to the test in a series of hands-on, practical challenges during the third "Einstein's Challenge" from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 31, in the Ohio University-Chillicothe Shoemaker Center.

Admission is free, and the public is invited to attend and view this innovative event.

The students will compete as teams in a series of challenges to test their ability to apply concepts they have learned in the classroom and through their own study.

"The program is designed to encourage interest in math and science for students and to promote hands-on inquiry," Event Coordinator Stephanie Hollar said. "We want to show these young people that math and the sciences are relevant and practical. The goal is to spark an interest that could possibly lead to a career in these fields for some of the students. For this competition, students are asked to use team collaboration and problem solving skills to complete presented challenges."

The competition is the result of a partnership between Southern Hills Academy and Ohio University-Chillicothe. This competition is also funded by the Robert E. and Genevieve B. Schaefer Grant at the Columbus Foundation. 

Participating students are from Highland, Pickaway, Pike and Ross counties. The schedule for the competition is: Grades 3 and 4, 9 a.m. to noon; grades 5 and 6, noon to 3 p.m.; and grades 7 and 8, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Competitors participate in teams of three to five students depending on the grade level. Eighty teams are registered. Professionals and educators will judge the competition. 

The top three teams in each category will receive OU-C scholarships worth $1,650 for first place, $1,200 for second place and $725 for third place. The scholarships will be awarded to a graduating senior at each team's school. Additionally, the team members will be able to designate a teacher at their school to receive a five-credit voucher for an OU-C course or continuing education workshop.

"The students compete in ways that promote the type of collaborative approach that will be most beneficial in careers of the 21st century," Hollar said. "The entire approach of this competition is to let students explore the math and science fields in a way that is most meaningful and beneficial to them. We are looking to instill in the students the desire to take on challenging problems, collaborate and find innovative ways to solve math- and science-based problems."

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Media Contact: OU-C Coordinator of Communications Jack Jeffery, (740) 707-1368 or jefferyj@ohio.edu or Event Coordinator Stephanie Hollar, (740) 779-3865.

Note to Media: This competition involves 230 students from several south-central Ohio school districts and should make for outstanding photo/video and interview opportunities. With the governor's emphasis on education, especially in math and the sciences, it is especially relevant.


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